Discovering Joy in the Unexpected: The Story of a Trash Bag

My fondest memories of travel have little to do with the history of a country or the culture that I experienced. Some of the memories I have closest to my heart have to do with finding joy and happiness in the unexpected, such as when a rainstorm suddenly arises.

Onetime when I was 8 years old in Germany with my family, we got caught in a downpour in the middle of the Black Forest. We got so wet that I remember riding back to my great grandparents’ house in only my undies, and remember feeling a little embarrassed because I thought I was too old to be in just my undies in a car.

I am now on Day 10 of my Eastern European adventure, and I wanted to share just another memorial story. Santiago and I had just spent 3 lovely days at Dhermi beach in Albania and were getting ready to catch a bus back to Tirana, the capital. There were some clouds looming, but hadn’t felt more than a sprinkle all day. As soon as we had gotten to the point of the bus pick-up, it started pouring. There was just one little convenience store down the hill from the bus pick-up point that we were barely able to dive into. We stood in the store looking semi-axiously outside, knowing that we would not be able to see the bus pass from inside the store, and we had not brought raincoats or an umbrella in brining just backpacks to the beach.

We started talking to an 8-year-old girl and her mom who owned the store. The young girl had great English and was telling us all about her life in Albania and wanted to know about us, like where we were from, what we thought of Albania, ect. After about 20 minutes of waiting in the store and talking with this family, we knew we had to go outside to wait for the bus or we would risk missing it. Then, the mom offered to make us trashbag rain coats to cover ourselves and our backpacks, so we took her up on the offer.

Thanking the kind family as we were now each covered in a trash bag, we went to stand at the corner for the bus. About 10-15 minutes past with the rain still pouring. The bus was running late. Then the rain stopped and we were still just standing there looking goofy in our trash bags on the side of the road. People passing in cars looking at us, but no one stopping to ask what we were doing there. We started laughing at how silly we looked and how happy we were to be dry underneath! Here are some of the photos from this funny moment.

I think it’s moments like these that we remember for a lifetime. I’m grateful to have someone special, Santiago, to make them with and who values them as much as I do.

I share this story with a happy heart and a smile…more to come on Albania, Montenegro and beyond!

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